The Language Workshop for Children® story starts in 1954, when François Thibaut turned six and was sent to boarding school outside Paris, where half of the student body were recent transplants from Europe, Britain, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and North and South America, none of whom could speak or understand French. He noticed how, without receiving formal French classes, in eight weeks the foreign children were speaking French in full sentences, getting tenses and noun genders right, chatting about today and asking about tomorrow. And by month four they could speak perfect, accent-free French with the teachers. Strangely though, when parents came to visit their children were compelled to translate. Adults were smarter than children, weren’t they? If his new classmates could speak basic French in two months, why couldn’t the grownups?
In the early 1970’s, after attending the Sorbonne in Paris, François Thibaut taught in a Paris high school then came to New York and began offering classes for 4 to 12 year olds, radically young for 1973. Within just a few weeks Thibaut saw that, in general, his younger students progressed more rapidly than his adult students. They mastered pronunciation much more easily. They tended to remember larger inventories of vocabulary more quickly. Next, he began planning more curriculum for each lesson, quickened the pace, commissioned colorful visual aids, brought in costumes and toys, devised humor-filled activities, and did everything he could to keep them laughing, smiling, and emotionally-engaged. And, whenever possible, he let older children move around. Then, Thibaut started accepting toddlers and infants with amazing results.
By 1980 he had developed enough routines, songs, visual aids, games, activities, observations, and philosophy to formally name his method The Thibaut Technique®. By the mid-90’s the media began to focus on the topic of early language education as academic studies were released from respected university neurolinguists, child psycholgists, and education specialists confirming observations and methods used by Thibaut for many years.
Recently, The Language Workshop for Children® reached its landmark 40th year. Thibaut and his teachers have prepared tens of thousands of children for a global world and are offering four languages in five programs nationwide. A few years ago the LWFC began licensing its program and training and certifying teachers to use The Thibaut Technique®.
This is how Lourdes Hubard and Fernando Alessandrini, a Mexican family keeping their French, Spanish and Italian roots and after an exhaustive research of different programs and systems to teach children a new language, came to find the most comprehensive and complete program: The Thibaut Technique®.
Confident in François Thibaut’s 40+ years of experience in teaching and in his renowned didactic materials, they became a Language Workshop for Children licensee, incorporated as Totus Lingua™, to provide this extraordinary language learning service to the Chicagoland children. We invite you to be part of our history in the Windy City!